Monday, April 9, 2012

G is for Getting over it - Using ritual to close the past.

One of the hardest things for me to do in my life is to get over things.  Not the little things – but those big things, and those things that sit in the back of your mind and haunt you.  Part of this is the little voice in my head that likes to constantly call out how wrong I am about things.  In order to grow thought we need to be able to put these things behind us, to be able to cast off the shadows of doubt and the shackles of history and move forward to embrace ourselves and our role within this life.

Now I know that a lot of people believe everything happens for a reason, and I am by no means discounting that belief.  I personally believe that we would not be the people we are today without what has happened in our past, but that doesn’t mean we have to carry the baggage around with us.  If you believe that we choose our life lessons for each lifetime that doesn’t mean that we have to dwell on them, in fact dwelling to me indicates that you haven’t learnt from them but rather that you are still trying to piece the correct lesson together out of it.

Throughout my life I have had some pretty nasty stuff happen to me.  I am a survivor of child sexual abuse and I have not always made the best decisions in my life.  But since I found my pagan path I have definitely been able to come to terms more with the things that have occurred and have been able to take my learning from them and let them go.  I am certain that other religions have various ways of dealing with it but for me the symbolism of ritual is an amazing way to “get over it.”

Here is where I should probably clarify.  I am not saying that one should simply create an awesome ritual and you will be done with the event.  What I am saying is that once you have taken the time to churn it over, analyze, rant, rave, cry and otherwise move through your experience ritual is a great way to close the book on the process.

Over the years I’ve developed a few different ways of dealing with this scenario. 
Firstly, some ideas to get it all out: 
  •  Unconscious writing: - sit and just write it out – it can be single words, or entire essays the idea is to not think but to feel and let the feelings flow through you.
  • Confront the person: - Now I don’t mean literally here (sometimes that isn’t even an option) but rather talk as if they were there or write it out just get what you wish you could say out of your head.
  • Visit that you of the past: - Do a meditative journey and visit with your past self, talk to them about it and help them deal with the events.
  • Energize: - use dance or some form of movement to physically work the feelings out of your system.

(This is by no means an exhaustive list, just a few I’ve used.  The key I would say to all though is the set up – make sure you’re ready for what will come out, create yourself a sacred/safe space to do this in, and if needs be have someone with you for it).

Secondly, some ways to ritualize the release:
  • Written words: If on paper you can burn them, bury them, shred them, flush them (warning here, if you’re flushing I’d burn first and flush the ashes or write on toilet paper), etc  If you’ve written on an object you can dispose of it in an appropriate way. 
  • Meditation: complete an activity within the journey such as a ritual jumping through the flames etc. Smudge and ground and center afterwards.
  • Energize: scream it out, work up to a crescendo and let it all go somehow then do a gentle bring down, something to re-gather yourself and re-center.

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